James 3:17-18 says, ”But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
We’ve been talking about racism, bigotry, and prejudice, and how we as a church can reach out to everyone in genuine Christlike love. We’ve been asking ourselves the question, “How can we become better bridge-builders, better peacemakers, and better reconcilers for God’s glory?” God desires that all of his children relate to others, free of prejudice, and partiality.
Here are a few things I’d ask you to join me in applying in your own life as we all seek to better understand racial inequality in our country, and grow in empathy to the needs of others, specifically Black Americans. How can we truly show the love of Christ by how we live, think, act, and talk?
Let me suggest a 5 step action plan:
- READ & LEARN. Educate yourself. Read books and articles and stories and become aware. Ignorance is no excuse. Make an effort. My wife and I have committed ourselves to do this very thing. Please join us.
- LISTEN & CARE. We learn from others when we listen. We understand better when we listen to people and share their hurts and pain. We get clarity when we hear people tell us their stories and discuss their journeys. Start a conversation with the desire to talk less and listen – and care – more. Listen to stories online. Find a way to care, bear, and be aware, as we are urged in Galatians 6:2.
- LOVE & BUILD. Indifference, apathy, ignoring, and avoiding are what many people do. Not here at BCA. Not now. Not us. I Corinthians 13 love is Calvary love, which is action love. We engage. We act. We find ways to demonstrate the love of Jesus. Pray that Jesus will use you as a bridge-builder and a peacemaker.
- PRAY & GROW. Do not minimize the power of prayer. Ultimately, this is a spiritual matter and a heart matter. We need God to change us from the inside out and change our country for God and for good. We need to become more compassionate, loving, and Christlike. Ask God to overtake you with empathy and love. Ask Him to break your heart for the broken and hurting.
- WEEP & WORK. Cry. Ask God to break your heart for others. And then do something to show God’s love to someone of a different race than you. Be intentional. Remember, you are an ambassador of Jesus. Be the church!
When we see others in need, we are, hopefully, moved with empathy, not apathy. Far too many are apathetic when it comes to the needs of others. But becoming empathetic is what it means to be Christian. To show sympathy and compassion and lovingkindness is the Jesus Way! Let’s link arms with people of all races to make the world a better place. Let’s link arms with fellow Christians of all races to reach out with love to our fellow man, regardless of race. In Jesus’ Name and for His glory.